Album Review: The Renaissance Of Italian Music

The Renaissance Of Italian Music, by various artists

I must admit that I have a soft spot for Renaissance art and music, and this album has plenty of that.  The album even comes in a book that includes a great deal of Renaissance art from the National Gallery.  EMI is clearly aiming this album at a particular market, namely highly cultured people who appreciate thematically organized art and music from the Italian Renaissance.  Since music from this period (if not visual art [1]) is somewhat obscure, I think it is a good thing that this album serves the niche of at least bringing this music to an appreciative audience.  While not everyone approves of this music–one person in my car while I was listening to the album thought of the music as rather samey and wondered if I was listening to Catholic radio–those of us who do enjoy the music certainly can find much to enjoy and appreciate about this album even if the liner notes are absolutely essential in understanding what is being said, since most of us do not have the best Latin, making this album a challenge to understand unless one reads the liner notes.

In terms of the music, this collection is a two-album set that totals about two and a half hours in length or so.  The first CD is made up of fifteen tracks.  The first seven tracks are the Missa Papae Marcelli, totalling about half an hour, followed by the Beata es Virgo Maria, the Hodie gloriosa simper Virgo Maria, and the Magnificat Septimi Toni, all composed by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.  This disc also contains the Kyrie a, Gloria a, and Sanctus & Benedictus by Andrea Gabrieli and the Omnes gentes a and Dulcis Jesu a by Giovanni Gabrieli.  The second disc contains ten tracks, including the O Jesu mi dulcissime a by Giovanni Gabrieli.  After this there are some works by Claudio Monteverdi, namely excerpts from the Vespro della Beata Vergine, the Beatus vir, Jubilet tota civitas, and the Salve Regina.  The last track, of about thirteen minutes in length, is the Miserere by Gregorio Allegri.  The pieces are performed by the Choirs of King’s and Clare College in Cambridge as well as the Taverner Consort choir & players and the Gabrieli consort & players.  The result is all the Italian Renaissance music (and art) that many people would look for.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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